Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro stormed out of an interview with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos after being shown video of citizens eating food scraps from a garbage truck, the journalist said Monday evening.
Earlier Monday evening, Univision said Maduro temporarily detained six of its reporters, including Ramos, at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas after asking questions the disputed Venezuelan president “didn’t like.”
The network also reported the team’s recording equipment was confiscated before being released. The crew was released around three hours after the incident started, said the network.
— Univision News (@UnivisionNews) February 26, 2019
According to Ramos, Maduro ended their interview upon being shown the footage below:
This is the video that upset the dictator @NicolasMaduro.@jorgeramosnews recorded it on his cell phone in the streets of Caracas. When he played it for Maduro during the interview the dictator got angry & detained him & his crew in a dark room for over 2 hours. https://t.co/SwM6AKCeX2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 26, 2019
“[W]hen I showed him these images, he said that the interview was over,” the Univision anchor said. “He didn’t like the things we were asking, about the lack of democracy in Venezuela, the torture of political prisoners, about the humanitarian crisis that they are living,” he added.
The anchor’s daughter, Paola Ramos, confirmed in a social media post that she was in contact with her father and that he was out of harm’s way. “[J]ust talked to my dad. He is safe,” she tweeted. “He told me that 15 mins into his interview, Maduro stopped him & then forced him & his team into a dark room for 2.5 hours. He was then released without any of his belongings.”
Kimberly Breier, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, wrote in a tweet that the U.S. State Department received confirmation of the team’s detainment and demand their immediate release. “[T]he world is watching,” the officials added.
The development came as the Trump administration announced new sanctions Monday on allies of Maduro amid its struggles to find ways to boost his opponent after an effort to deliver humanitarian aid to the economically devastated nation faltered amid strong resistance from security forces loyal to the socialist leader.
Vice President Mike Pence arrived in the Colombian capital for an emergency summit of regional leaders to discuss the deepening crisis and immediately met with Juan Guaido, the opposition leader the U.S. and 50 other nations recognize as Venezuela’s rightful president.
In a speech, Pence urged regional partners to freeze oil assets controlled by Maduro, transfer the proceeds to Guaido, and restrict visas for Maduro’s inner circle. He said the U.S. was imposing more sanctions on four pro-government governors, including a close Maduro ally who negotiated the release of an American jailed for more than two years.
“It’s time to do more,” Pence said. “The day is coming soon when Venezuela’s long nightmare will end, when Venezuela will once more be free, when her people will see a new birth of freedom, in a nation reborn to libertad.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.